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The NBA decided the 1980s with a coin flip

And it all ran through Magic Johnson.

LeBron James would not be joining the Lakers if Gail Goodrich hadn’t left Los Angeles for New Orleans during free agency in 1976. That bonkers string of words is accurate thanks to Magic Johnson.

We’re all aware that Magic was an incredible talent who shaped the NBA as we know it during the 1980s and into the 90s. He’s still the only rookie to ever win Finals MVP, he played part in arguably the greatest rivalry in any sport, and now he’s landing top talent as president of basketball operations with the Lakers.

How he made it to the Lakers in the first place though was far more complicated than the Lakers simply selecting him in the draft. So many pieces had to fall just right, including the literal flip of a coin that could’ve sent Magic back to college, depriving us of his incredible 1979 season.

Check out this episode of If Then to see just how it went down, and how much could’ve changed all too easily.